On Monday, a prominent climate official from the EU pointed out that there seems to be a contradiction between China’s ambitious efforts to address global warming and their ongoing construction of coal-fired power plants.
During a visit to Beijing, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans expressed his belief that China is committed to moving in the right direction.
In his speech at Tsinghua University, Timmermans acknowledged that while it is true that more coal-fired power plants are being opened, there is another side to the story.
It appears that there is a contradiction.
China is also responsible for emitting the largest amount of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2). It is crucial for China to make commitments to reduce these emissions in order to effectively limit global temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius.
Last year, China heavily depended on coal to generate almost 60 percent of its electricity.
According to Greenpeace, China has given its approval for a significant increase in coal power this year. Greenpeace has accused China of prioritizing energy supply over its commitment to reducing emissions from fossil fuels.
There is growing concern that China’s recent increase in approvals for coal-fired power plants could undermine its commitment to peak emissions by 2026-2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Timmermans made these comments after China experienced extreme heatwaves and flooding in the past few weeks. These events have highlighted the possible consequences of rising global temperatures.
He also mentioned the potential outcomes if we fail to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. He explained that this would result in a significant and widespread rise in the negative effects of climate change, including more extreme weather events.
Over the weekend, China’s leading climate center shared the news that 2023 has experienced an unprecedented number of days with high temperatures over a span of six months.
According to the national weather service, Beijing experienced its hottest June day ever recorded last month. Many parts of northern China were also affected by scorching temperatures reaching 40 degrees.
According to state news agency Xinhua, there has been heavy and continuous rainfall in central and southern China, resulting in severe flooding. As a result, over 14,000 individuals have been compelled to evacuate from Hunan Province.
The United Nations has issued a warning that the years 2023-2027 are highly likely to be the hottest five-year period ever recorded. This is due to a combination of greenhouse gas emissions and the El Nino climate phenomenon, which are causing temperatures to rise significantly.
In recent years, Beijing has been consistently urging developed nations to fulfill their commitments regarding climate finance.
China has disagreed with the notion that it should no longer be classified as a developing country, despite being the second-largest economy globally.